Pomegranate's power: Studies show promise in cardiovascular and diabetic health

November 27, 2023  12:07

In a recent review published in Nutrients, researchers reviewed existing data on the bio-modulatory effects of pomegranate (Punica granatum l., PG) polyphenols on metabolic disorders.

Pomegranate, a natural nutrient, has long been used to treat bacterial infections, diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders. However, there have been concerns expressed concerning the side effects of pharmacological therapies such as anti-obesity medications and insulin-sensitizing medicines. Modern research supports the health-promoting advantages of polyphenol-rich natural products and diets, including antibacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, and atheroprotective qualities.

In the present review, researchers examined the pharmacokinetic characteristics, safety, and bioavailability of PG compounds in preventing metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular-related diseases.

PG is a plant that can reduce insulin resistance, cytokine levels, redox gene expression, blood pressure increase, vascular damage, and lipoprotein oxidative alterations. PG-ellagitannins have been demonstrated in studies to be beneficial in lowering hyperlipidemia, raising plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and improving total cholesterol (TC)/HDL-C and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)/HDL-C ratios. Since obesity is reversible, nutritional interventions can restore metabolic equilibrium and prevent the development of obesity-related diseases.

Traditional medicine is considering PG polyphenols for their anti-diabetic properties. PG may exert its effects via a variety of mechanisms, including PPAR-γ activity modulation, protein degradation resistance, adiponectin gene expression, inhibition of β-glucosidase enzymatic activities, glucose transporter protein type-4 (Glut-4) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression, and β-mass regeneration.

Although traditional medicine literature supports the use of PG and its potential to improve health outcomes, several toxicological studies have revealed cellular component modification and nuclear damage following PG administration.

In vitro and in vivo toxicological studies of PG seed oil, a high source of punicic acid, found that it is neither mutagenic nor clastogenic. The post-mortem examinations revealed no cellular abnormalities, and 4.3 g/kg/day of PG intake produced no harm. The use of PG or pure PG compounds appears safe, with adverse effects predicted at dosages far higher than those seen in traditional ethnomedicine treatments and now employed for therapeutic purposes.

Overall, the review findings showed that PG consumption may help prevent metabolic disorders such as hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia; however, clinical and pharmacokinetic studies are inconsistent due to factors like plant part selection, cultivar, geographical region, bioclimatic and soil characteristics, plasma bioavailability, organ accessibility, and nutrigenomics considerations. Irrespective of these variations, the medicinal efficacy of PG in treating metabolic syndrome components necessitates multifaceted treatment approaches.


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